At the beginning of his new role, Rishi Sunak has called for every department in the Government to make a 5% cut in their budgets. This is not a new idea, his immediate predecessor called for something similar a few weeks ago and back in 2017 their predecessor called for a 6% cut. So it is worth looking at places where the cuts do not seem to have occurred as many of us in society have experienced serious cuts over the same period in settings such as Schools, NHS, Police Services. Where most of us do not see any change or perhaps based on the images above, we only see change in the opposite direction is in the pay and possibly growth of Special Advisers and of course the MPs themselves. The right hand column is the pay for MPs and the piece under the headline for the 2017 budget is from the Governments publication on Special Advisers. Clearly the increases in MPs salaries are significant, however something that is much more significant is that the sums paid for special advisers as indicated by the Government are:
- 2018/19 £6.6m
- 2019/20 £7.1m – 7.6% increase
- 2018/19 £9.6m – 35.2% increase
- 2019/20 ??????
In fact although we don’t know what the total sum is for 2019/20 we do have a list of recent special advisers before the last change and that amounts to between £8.3m – £9.01m depending on what the exact salaries are. However one of the sums probably involved in these payment totals is the severance payment which in 2018/19 was £0.21m and will certainly be significantly more than that this time as Johnson has cleared several Ministers out of their roles and SPADS lose their jobs whenever a Minister resigns or is sacked. In any case all of the unapproved SPADS have been told to go!
The increase in MPs pay is made clear above and if we take the current pay and multiply it by 650 so before the rest of the expenses are added in, the £51.6m is very significant. I recall when the man in BBC Any Questions claimed his £80k payment did not place him in the top 5% and the analysis is that in fact the top 5% of earners in our nation currently earn more than £71,292 and the top 4% earn more than £78,254. So this currently places all of our MPs in the top 4% of the nations incomers. The top 1% of our nation earn £133,962 so that places senior Ministers in that territory. I would certainly argue that we could have a more efficient Parliament with less MPs but given how many Tory MPs are currently just voting as they are instructed, one wonders if we need anywhere near as many of them?
A final area for Sunak to consider is the pay to members of the House of Lords which has just increased from £300 to £323 each day. Not only is this a 7.7% increase, but his boss Johnson keeps on sending more people into the House which inevitably increases our costs.